Campus News

UK Board Endorses Strategic Plan With Commitment to Advance Kentucky

photo of William T. Young Library in the fall
William T. Young Library in the fall. Pete Comparoni | UK Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 15, 2021) — The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees on Friday endorsed an institutional strategic plan that focuses squarely on one overarching goal — how UK can advance the Commonwealth.

“We were created — and we exist — to advance Kentucky: its economy and its health, its education and its quality of life. That is our why,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “For our students to compete and thrive in the 21st century — to advance Kentucky — we need a state that is healthier, wealthier and wiser.”

To that end, the Board of Trustees adopted a strategic plan — (The UK PURPOSE: Plan for Unprecedented Research, Purposeful and Optimal Service and Education) — after reviewing it with campus leaders for several hours Thursday. The plan endorsed by the board focuses on five key principles:

  • Putting Students First
  • Taking Care of Our People
  • Inspiring Ingenuity
  • Ensuring Greater Trust, Transparency and Accountability
  • Bringing Together Many People, One Community

For several weeks this summer and fall, five teams — composed of students, faculty, staff, deans and administrators — worked to develop draft objectives and initial tactics in support of each principle.

Drafts of the plan were distributed to the campus for feedback twice this fall, and the University Senate Council also held two meetings to review specific aspects of it.

On Thursday, board members received an overview of national trends in higher education and broke into small groups around each principle of the draft to take a deeper dive into key objectives and goals.

Capilouto told board members that UK’s mission of education, research, service and health care remains relevant and vital to Kentucky’s future.

What is changing, and what must change in a volatile and challenging economy, he said, is how UK undertakes some of its traditional roles and how quickly the institution moves in key areas such as student success, research and health care — all in ways that address particular challenges that confront the state.

Key objectives include goals such as:

  • Enrollment efforts that align with state goals for more young people with degrees and economic needs;
  • More research targeted at local, state and national challenges;
  • Enhancing wellness efforts across the campus;
  • Increased training across the campus to promote compliance with university regulations;
  • And expanded recruitment and retention efforts around diverse students, faculty and staff.

With the board’s endorsement Friday, campus leaders will work now on specific metrics that will help measure progress on key goals and objectives. Board members will review those metrics at their December meeting as UK moves to implement the new strategic plan.

“Our role won’t change. We are here to advance this state. And we are the most important force for that advancement and our state’s brightest hope,” Capilouto said. “Over the last several years, we have demonstrated — time and again — a capacity and willingness to meet the needs of our state. What must change is the pace of what we do and in some cases how we do it.”

You can read the strategic plan here.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.